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Updated: June 27, 2022 From the Editor

From the Editor: Ready or not, cannabis is a growing industry in Maine

Whatever position you may have taken on the legalization of adult-use cannabis in Maine, it’s here and it’s happening.

Stores are proliferating in 34 municipalities around Maine. Retailers are selling cannabis at a rate of $10 million a month through the first five months of this year. Legal sales of adult-use cannabis in Maine could grow from $82 million in 2021 to $300 million by 2025, according to one industry consultant.

In this issue, we delve into some key areas of the marijuana business, looking at the effect on the marketplace, store design and banking.

We start the issue with a look at the design of retail shops. There was a conscious effort to move away from the “head shop” look of the 1960s. In saome cases, the adult-use retail shops in Maine are sleek looking, with innovative design features. And because the businesses work mainly in cash, they’re built like fortresses, with secured areas. For more, see Senior Writer Laurie Schreiber’s story, “The architecture of cannabis,” which starts on Page 12.

Staff Writer Jessica Hall looked at the effect of retail sales on the town of Manchester, which has four cannabis retailers and a population of 2,500. Retailers there aren’t concerned about market saturation, saying everyone offers something different. Her story, “Can-do economics,” starts on Page 16.

Here’s where things get particularly tricky with the cannabis business. While it’s legal in Maine, it’s still illegal on a federal level, which is why banks are still prohibited from doing business with the marijuana industry. There are literally trunkloads of cash associated with the industry — an inherent danger, many members of Congress argue.

Mainebiz contributor Catie Joyce-Bulay looks at Congress’ attempt to pass the SAFE Banking Act, which would allow banks into the cannabis industry. Her story, “Cannabis businesses and banks stuck in limbo,” starts on Page 18.

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